Each year, as I produce a wine event for PS I Love You called Dark & Delicious, I set one day aside for “the process.”

The following is a great check list. In fact, I’ll be using this myself, so I don’t forget anything. It seems like I forget at least one thing each year, regardless of how long I’ve been doing this. Finally, I’ve taken the time to create one for myself and you.

FIRST: Getting your ducks in a row

    1. Before I begin, I have a signed contract from the venue (Rock Wall Wine Company), stating all of the conditions, including the following: security, how many people will be in attendance, a floor plan/layout, including how many tables I’ll be renting, door locations, and how many tables will have wine being poured at them.
    1. How many pouring stations is very important, because I’m charged $25 per pouring table for the license; e.g., 50 pouring tables = $1,250 for the license.
    1. Make sure that each vendor for your event has given an insurance rider to you from their own insurance company, indemnifying the organizer (for me, it’s PS I Love You) and the venue.

      1. If your venue doesn’t demand this of you, still make it mandatory for your participants.
      2. It’s better to be safe than sorry, as mom used to say.

NEXT: You’re ready to begin

    1. I begin my “set aside” day by filling out the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control form ABC-221 (rev. 01-11), which is a California SPECIAL EVENT PERMIT APPLICATION. The form is found at  www.abc.ca.gov and is a PDF.  Each state will have its own rules and regulations, so check with your own government to begin your process.
  2. MONEY
    1. Know ahead of time how many wine pouring stations you’re going to have.
    2. Do the math for the total amount.
    3. Get a money order or cashier’s check for the full amount.
      1. No personal or business checks are accepted.
  3. VENUE
    1. Along with my venue contract and the filled out ABC-221, I head to Rock Wall, my venue. This is the first signature that I need on my application. I get the signature and off I go.
    1. If your venue has no sprinkler system, you’ll have to go to the venue’s local fire department, and put them on notice for your event.
      1. Know the venue’s legal capacity, and don’t plan to exceed it.
      2. Some venues have an established relationship with the local fire department, and may do this step for you.
    1. My next stop is the Alameda Police Department, our local police station. On the ABC paperwork, you must have the local police department demonstrate that they know you’re holding a wine event by signing your form. They’ll ask you about security that you’ve hired, how many people are expected, etc., and they’ll want to see your contract, layout, etc., to make sure that you’re professional. You’ll get a signature, and off you go for the next step.
    1. It’s recommenced that you have at least two weeks before your event to get the ABC your paperwork. They don’t want to see you before 30 days prior to your event.
    2. Make sure all of your paperwork is in order before you get to this office.
      1. I can’t stress this enough.
    3. If it’s your first event, START EARLY.
      1. Because it’s your first, you’ll have to jump through more hoops than you were planning; although, if I had these instructions, I would have had less grief the first time, brought on by my own inexperience.
    1. Your ABC worker will ask you a lot of questions, if it’s your first event.
      1. Subsequent events are simply taking your paperwork and money order, because you’re in their system.
    2. Once you’ve answered questions and given the ABC your money order/cashier’s check, your worker will take your paperwork.
      1. Provide a self-addressed stamped envelope for the return of your paperwork.
    3. In a week or two, depending on your lead time, your license will arrive in the mail.

A good question I was asked and it’s important to share the Q & A:

[Q] I am hoping that our 5 producer members who are participating under the event umbrella, and who each have a license, will be sufficient for the organizers; but in case not, I thought I would ask your advice.

[A]  No, their licenses are not applicable to this event. They hold a different license, which they pay for to cover their own property.


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